While graduates may have completed their formal training, there is no end to learning in the medical sciences, said Keith Moore, a distinguished anatomy researcher whose career has spanned more than six decades.
“In three months, I will be 90 and there isn’t one week that goes by that I don’t learn something about medicine, dentistry and the medical sciences,” said Moore, who delivered his prepared speech through Dr. Douglas Jones, vice dean of Basic Medical Sciences at Western.
Moore’s speech was delivered to graduates from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, the Faculty of Science and the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies at the June 11 morning session of Western’s 305th Convocation.
Western conferred an honorary Doctor of Science, honoris causa (DSc), upon Moore in recognition of his esteemed academic career in clinical anatomy.
“Your learning experiences have taught you many things beyond what you learned in labs and lectures,” More told graduates by way of Jones.
Be humble, confident and hopeful in your futures. Step up and trust your instincts. Listen, think and defend your decisions, he encouraged the crowd at Alumni Hall.
But above all, maintain the desire to learn and grow in labs and clinical settings, learning from patients, others, and new advancements in anatomy.
“Living anatomy has been revealed in many ways; what you’ve learned is going to improve the lives of many.”
Moore’s contributions to the field of anatomy have touched students around the world. A renowned anatomist and embryologist, he has written more than 14 medical textbooks, four of which are still in print today. Many of his texts appear in as many as 10 different languages, not including English.
Born in 1925 in Brantford, Ont., Moore served in the Royal Canadian Navy in the 1940s as a sick berth attendant. He came to Western for his undergraduate studies after the Second World War, completing his BA in 1949, after which his interest in anatomy flourished with Dr. Murray Barr’s research team. On this team, Moore developed the buccal smear test – a cheek swab – to test for DNA. He got his MSc in 1951, and, in 1954, became the first PhD graduate in Western’s Department of Anatomy.
Moore has won numerous awards, with his most recent being the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Previously, he was the recipient of the Henry Gray/Elsevier Distinguished Educator Award in 2007 by the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, of which he was a founding member, and president from 1989-91. In 1984, Moore was also presented the highest honour awarded by the Canadian Association of Anatomists, the J.C.B. Grant Award.
“Medical education is not just about studying and getting higher grades. It’s about character, self-reliance, self-control. Without sound knowledge, anatomy is like sailing a ship without knowledge of a navigator’s map,” he went on.
A professor emeritus in anatomy within the Faculty of Surgery, Moore is also the former chair of anatomy and current associate dean of Basic Medical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. In the 1970s, he served as honorary attending staff in the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg, Man., as a consultant in Anatomy and Embryology.
Moore is the only Canadian member appointed to the Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology, and the first Canadian designated as a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners of the United States of America. He has been an associated editor of the Clinical Anatomy Journal since 1986 and a member of the Board of Consultants of the International Academy of Gynaecological Cytology since 1961.
In his citation, Schulich professor Kem Rogers praised Moore’s dedication to his work and his students.
“In the spirit of a man who loves to teach, he continues to this day to edit and update his textbooks that have contributed so much to medical education throughout the world,” Rogers said.
“Never stop learning. You remember some of what you’ve heard, much of what you’ve read, and most of what you’ve seen,” Moore added via Jones.
“Keep up with advances in the fields you have chosen. Care for patients with empathy and compassion.”